The task of nation building has been argued to be historically contingent due to the fact that the process is inextricably tied to the formation, growth and demise of nations as well as factors that influence the process (Oghi & Ajayi, 2011). The attempt at integrating the diverse elements in a country in order to promote a sense of belonging among people is also part of nation building process (Wallenstein, 1961). Nation building therefore, involves not only the implementation of political and economic policies that will improve the lives of the citizenry, but also a recognition of values and other aspects of the state that would act as a national catalyst to bind the people (Elaigwu, 1983). Culture, which is the totality of a people’s way of life, is crucial to nation building because its non recognition could promote fissiparous tendencies among the citizenry. According to Wikipedia (2013), Nation-building refers to the process of constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state.
However, Irele (1999) defined nation building as “the process whereby people transfer their commitment and loyalty from smaller tribes, villages, or petty principality to the larger central political system”. Nation building can also be defined as a process of bringing diverse groups together to develop their common land.
This process as Eme and Onyishi (2014) noted aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. Nation-building can involve the use of propaganda or major infrastructure development to foster social harmony and economic growth. It is also the development of behaviours, values, language, institutions, and physical structures that elucidate history and culture, concretize and protect the present, and insure the future identity and independence of a nation. For the purpose of this presentation, nation-building is viewed as purposeful interventions in the affairs of a nation-state for the purpose of changing the state’s method of governance. It includes deliberate efforts to promote institutions which will provide for a people’s enhanced economic well-being and social equity.